The Batchelder Award is given to the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States.
Originally published in French in 2014 as “Le merveilleux Dodu-Velu-Petit,” the book was written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna, and translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick. The book tells the story of exuberant, five-year-old Eddie who, after a spirited quest through a round of traditional merchants in her picturesque French village, parlays a bit of brioche, a four-leaf clover, a mother-of-pearl button, and a British Naval postage stamp into an elusive, perfect birthday gift for her mother while discovering her own special talent.
“Alemagna’s vivid descriptions and expressionistic illustrations of the winsome child and her close-knit community transport the reader on a journey of imagination and frivolity,” said Batchelder Award Committee Chair Elizabeth (Beth) Rosania.
2016 Honor Books
Adam and Thomas, published by Seven Stories Press
Originally published in Hebrew in 2013 as “Yalda Shelo Minhaolam Hazé (A Girl from Another World),” “Adam and Thomas,” was written by Aharon Appelfeld, illustrated by Philippe Dumas and translated by Jeffrey M. Green. In “Adam and Thomas,” two nine-year-old Jewish boys are taken from the Ghetto by their mothers to the forest of the Eastern Front and told to wait there for them to return during the last months of World War II. Left on their own, they forge a strong friendship, learning from one another and helping others escape through the woods.
“Through the unique perspectives of two well-drawn young characters, this story shares their evolving friendship with an almost fable-like quality,” said Chair Rosania.
Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village
, published by NorthSouth Books, an imprint of Nordsüd Verlag AG
Originally published in Chinese in 2014 as “Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village,” “Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village” was written by Fang Suzhen, illustrated by Sonja Danowski and translated by Huang Xiumin. In this touching book, Xiao Le’s grandmother passes away soon after he spends a rare day visiting with her. His mother is sad, but young Xiao Le helps her feel better by telling her what Grandma is doing in Heaven—she’s frying eggs, doing laundry and having tea with her mom.
“Readers will enjoy watching Xiao Le’s relationship with his grandma deepen, as well as being able to examine cultural nuances through the book’s photorealistic images,” said Chair Rosania.
Written and Drawn by Henrietta
, published by TOON Books, an imprint of RAW Junior, LLC.
Originally published in Spanish in 2015 as “Escrito y Dibujado por Enriqueta,” “Written and Drawn by Henrietta” was written, illustrated and translated by Liniers. The creative and dramatic young Henrietta receives a box of brand-new colored pencils and is inspired to create a tale wrought with intrigue, horror, and more than a bit of humor.
“Author/Illustrator Ricardo Liniers’ work captures the imagination of young readers with his vibrant illustrations and subtle jokes, making for a lively and engaging read,” said Chair Rosania.
Members of the 2016 Batchelder Award Committee are: Chair Elizabeth (Beth) Rosania, Bellevue (Wash.) Library; Maria Dietrich, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, Wis.; Kathryn Johnson, San Diego Public Library; Wendy Steadman Stephens, Jacksonville (Ala.) State University; and Sarah Dawn Washkoviak, Zion-Benton Public Library, Zion, Ill.